Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jul 30, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Luanda port concession signed

  • South Africa to import large shipments of maize

  • CFM to refurbish rail wagon fleet

  • Don’t touch our overtime, port workers tell Kenya Ports Authority

  • International maritime briefs

  • Pic of the day – WULAN

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    Luanda port concession signed

    Angola is looking to the port of Luanda to support the country’s efforts of reconstruction, says Angolan Transport Minister André Luís Brandão.

    Brandão was speaking at the signing ceremony to mark the handover of a 20-year concession to operate the port’s container terminal to a company named Sogester, a consortium formed by Gestão de Fundos (an Angolan pension fund management company) which hold 49 percent of the shares, APM Terminals (40 percent) and Maersk Line (11 percent).

    In terms of the concession the consortium will have to re-equip the terminal with new infrastructure and equipment and to raise the level of productivity at the port, which has become notorious for lengthy delays.

    The transport minister said his government was looking for similar public-private partnerships to assist in the reconstruction of the country. He urged foreign investors to see Angola as a destination for such investment.

    He said the challenge was to turn the port of Luanda into a example of what can be achieved in the African region, for the advantage of not only Angola but also its neighbouring landlocked countries.

    source – Angola News Agency

    South Africa to import large shipments of maize

    South Africa will have to import between 1.4 and 1.8 million tonnes of maize this marketing season in order to supply the local demand, Grain SA said last week.

    Grain SA chairman Neels Ferreira said that in a normal year South Africa required 8.9 million tonnes of maize each year for local consumption. However the National Crop Estimate Committee was forecasting a reduced crop of only 6.904 mt this year due to the prolonged drought in the country’s summer producing regions. This meant that South Africa was facing its largest import since the de-regulation of maize marketing in 1997.

    Ferreira warned that available production could prove even lower than the above figures because of farmers holding back on production in order to have grain to feed their livestock during the following winter.

    CFM to refurbish rail wagon fleet

    CFM, Mozambique’s state-owned rail company intends reducing its dependency on Transnet Freight Rail (Spoornet), the South Africa rail operator even further by upgrading its own fleet of rail wagons and thereby reducing CFM’s level of hiring from South Africa.

    CFM will refurbish 820 wagons in a US $ 30 million project – a move that will increase the available number of CFM wagons to over 1400. The first 45 rail wagons for refurbishment will be sent to South Africa in August to undergo rebuilding.

    The two railway networks, plus that of Zimbabwe will always remain linked by common usage, with South African and Zimbabwean wagons moving into Mozambique to the port at Maputo, while CFM wagons likewise find their way into the neighbouring countries. But without sufficient wagons CFM reportedly pays Transnet Freight Rail $ 100 million a year in hire charges at present.

    CFM recently began receiving the first of a number of refurbished diesel electric locomotives from India to bolster its small fleet.

    Meanwhile, in South Africa the Financial Mail recently reported that Transnet Freight Rail was steadily losing grain traffic to road haulage and that the rail company’s fleet of grain wagons had dropped from 8,000 wagons to 5,500 wagons over the last ten years. At the same time turnaround times for grain wagons had more than doubled in that period indicating a deteriorating level of productivity.

    Grain millers, said the report, had ordered just under 13,000 grain wagons for the period between January and March this year, but Spoornet was only able to deliver 5,700 – a mere 43 percent of the requirement.

    The article said there were rumours that the rail company was not anxious to arrest the decline as it did not want the business which analysts had told it was losing money.

    Transnet Freight Rail CEO Siyabonga Gama denied this. “On the contrary, we will continue to engage the grain industry to reposition the rail offering in line with the changed industry structure,” he is reported to have said.

    The agricultural industry, on the other hand believes that the rail utility cares only for the lucrative coal and iron ore lines.

    Don’t touch our overtime, port workers tell Kenya Ports Authority

    Mombasa port workers say that despite having won a court action, the Kenya Ports Authority will find it difficult to implement a plan of reducing overtime levels for workers.

    Kenya’s Industrial Court recently found in favour of the KPA to alter the working schedules of workers employed at the port. According to the Dock Workers’ Union secretary-general any move to scrap overtime will lead to the KPA having to employ additional personnel.

    Secretary-general Simon Sang said the port authority was planning to introduce a five day working week forcing workers to take two days off in each week. This would lead to a huge void that would require more workers, he claimed.

    The union took matter to the industrial court after the Kenyan government queried the large allowances being paid to workers, which it is claimed often exceeded workers wages.

    source – The Nation

    International maritime briefs

    Collision off Japan Friday 27 July – The Greek-owned Capesize bulker ALPHA ACTION was in collision with a smaller Taiwanese container ship, the 2,200-TEU WAN HAI on Friday morning off the coast of Oshima in central Japan. The collision left the bow of the bulker firmly wedged in the hull of the boxship, causing considerable damage to the latter and also to a number of containers.

    Although the container ship was taking water there was no immediate risk of her sinking, said reports. The extent of damage to the 150,800-DWT bulk ship has not been reported but both ships remained wedged together later that day. A tug was on the scene.

    The bulker is on charter to Japan’s NYK Line and has a crew of 23 on board – 10 Greek and 13 Filipinos. The ship was en route for Chile when the accident occurred.

    Rotterdam surcharge dropped - Member lines of the IPBCC, a conference consortium representing shipping lines serving India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have withdrawn a congestion surcharge of €35 per TEU from the port of Rotterdam which was introduce in March because of ongoing delays at the Dutch port.

    According to the IPBCC matters have now improved but the conference reserves the right to re-introduce the surcharge at a future date. The conference consists of CMA CGM, Evergreen, Hamburg Süd, Hapag Lloyd, ‘K’ Line, Maersk Line, UASC and Yang Ming.

    'K' Line and Indian shipyard to train engineers - Faced with ongoing shortages of trained seafarers, ‘K’ Line Ship Management (KLSM), a member of the ‘K’ Line Group, and the Training Institute Cochin Shipyard Ltd in the Indian state of Kerala are to jointly train maritime engineers at the Indian shipyard.

    Cadets will undergo one year’s training at the facility which will include six months on board ships to gain seatime and a seafarer’s license. ‘K’ Line says it intends recruiting 50 engineering students from specified Indian and Bangladeshi maritime educational institutions this year which it hopes to turn into officers for the line’s ships. Next year the programme will be extended to take in 60 cadets along with a scholarship aimed at promoting seafarer safety and security.

    Pic of the day – WULAN

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The fishing vessel WULAN in Durban harbour on Saturday, 28 July 2007. Picture Terry Hutson

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